You know that feeling when you’re in the fitting room: You try on that perfect item, and your friends’ jaws just drop? Boutine wants to capture that feeling and bring it online.
On Boutine, you can ask a friend for advice, get style tips from the experts, view trending collections (see may favorite below, “The Modern Bohemian Spirit), and purchase items all in one place. Anyone with a strong aesthetic can be a stylist and launch a virtual boutique — once you’ve compiled your collection, you can earn a cut of the revenues for all the items sold.
Today, the San Francisco-based company is launching a nifty new feature: an integration with Filepicker.io that lets you upload pictures of yourself and integrate them into fashion collections. You can pull an image from Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Box or straight from your desktop to glimpse how a pair of earrings would set off your eyes, or a color would highlight your skin tone.
The Internet is crawling with e-commerce sites, but there may be a gap in the market for Boutine. While Pinterest has mastered the social elements, you can’t buy and sell directly on the site yet. Meanwhile, online boutique stores and e-commerce giants haven’t fully engaged their user-base on Facebook and Twitter.
Boutine isn’t the only site that offers a fun, collaborative shopping experience — it competes with Polyvore, a mecca for budding stylists; and Style Owner, a New York-based startup that lets you build a store and earn a cut of the sale. On all these sites, shoppers can interact with designers and self-made stylists, which feels more personal than a one-click purchase of a pair of socks on Amazon or eBay.
Pramod Dabir, the site’s CEO and founder, told me he had the idea for Boutine when his wife attended graduate school at Stanford. Dabir, formerly a investor at Goldman Sachs, suddenly found himself living in a glorified dorm with six girls.
“Before an event, they would run into each other’s rooms to ask for fashion advice,” he said. “When I realized that this was the basis for their purchasing decisions, I hit on the idea.”
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A year ago, he left the finance world to form the site and raised a small amount of funding from family and friends. In just nine months, the site’s staff had grown to a team of seven. Dabir told me they are already generating significant revenue, an increasingly rare feat for an early-stage startup. Boutine charges a 20 percent commission on products sold, and stylists (that could be you) receive a 10 percent commission for styling the look.
At first, it wasn’t easy convincing boutique and independent designers to sign-up, but Dabir said they are starting to approach him directly, as the site has proven to be a strong distribution platform. There are 80 designers featured on the site, and they have a wait-list of about 300.
Next up for Boutine is the iPad app, which is Dabir’s top priority — the first version will let you browse collections and make purchases. With this release, Boutine will be looking to raise its first round of funding.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.